New England has seen some exceptionally cold weather recently, and in between all the shoveling, icy commutes, and high heating bills, the last thing many people have on their mind is pests. Indeed, many insects die off or go dormant during the winter months, so other than the occasional little critter trying to sneak into your home for warmth, they’re not a huge concern for most of us.
Once the snow does melt, many people will be looking to go outside and enjoy a run, walk, or hike after being shut indoors for so long. If you’re one of these people, you should keep ticks in mind. Yes, even though it’s winter, some ticks may still be out for blood.
Generally, ticks become inactive when the temperature falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll lie dormant underneath a leaf or debris pile, and–if there’s snow on the ground–ticks will stay buried beneath it.
If the snow melts and soil temperatures heat up to 45 degrees, ticks can become active again. They will position themselves on vegetation in a stance that allows them to attach to any passing warm-blooded bodies. Ticks are extremely effective at transmitting diseases, and carry bacteria and viruses that can pass to their host. In addition, tick-borne diseases can be very difficult to treat.
If you plan on going for a hike or walking your dog once we hit a warm spell this winter, keep yourself protected!
- Use tick repellent as appropriate.
- Wear long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks as appropriate.
- Thoroughly check yourself and your pets for ticks once you return home.
- Bonus tip for next year: Get those fall cleanups done! Leaf litter in the fall can become a tick shelter in the winter! Some tick species, like the deer tick, use leaf and debris piles to insulate themselves during the winter.
As always, feel free to give Graduate a call with any pest-related problems. Happy hiking!